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Sage Therapeutics craters 64% after failing a key trial for its depression drug

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 06:55

The Cambridge-based drugmaker posted promising trial results for the key antidepressant earlier this year.


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Climate Change and Its Effects Are Accelerating, Scientists Say

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 06:11

More devastating fires in California. Persistent drought in the Southwest. Record flooding in Europe and Africa. A heat wave, of all places, in Greenland.Climate change and its effects are accelerating, with climate related disasters piling up, season after season."Things are getting worse," said Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, which Tuesday issued its annual state of the global climate report, concluding a decade of what it called exceptional global heat. "It's more urgent than ever to proceed with mitigation."But reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change will require drastic measures, Taalas said. "The only solution is to get rid of fossil fuels in power production, industry and transportation," he said.Seas are warming and rising faster, putting more cities at risk of tidal flooding or worse. Glaciers are melting at a pace many researchers did not expect for decades. The amount of Arctic sea ice has declined so rapidly that the region may see ice-free summers by the 2030s.Even the ground itself is warming faster. Permanently frozen ground, or permafrost, is thawing more rapidly, threatening the release of large amounts of long-stored carbon that could in turn make warming even worse, in what scientists call a climate feedback loop.In a recent commentary in the journal Nature, scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Germany and other institutions warned that the acceleration of ice loss and other effects of climate change have brought the world "dangerously close" to abrupt and irreversible changes, or tipping points. Among these, the researchers said, were the collapse of at least part of the West Antarctic ice sheet -- which itself could eventually raise sea levels by 4 feet or more -- or the loss of the Amazon rainforest."In our view, the consideration of tipping points helps to define that we are in a climate emergency," they wrote.The societal toll is accelerating, too, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in Madrid before the opening this week of the U.N.'s annual climate conference. "Climate-related natural disasters are becoming more frequent, more deadly, more destructive, with growing human and financial costs," he said.For individual extreme weather events or other disasters it can be difficult to fully separate the effects of global warming from those of natural climate variability and other factors. Warming can make wildfires worse, for example -- it makes vegetation drier and more combustible -- but forest management practices, as well as decisions about where to build, also affect the degree of devastation.Yet a growing number of studies have shown the influence of global warming in many disasters. Heat waves in Europe in June and July, extreme rainfall in Texas during Tropical Storm Imelda in September, the drought that precipitated the "Day Zero" water crisis in Cape Town in 2018 are among many events shown to have been made more likely, more intense, or both, by climate change.Effects like loss of sea ice, more severe heat waves and changes in rainfall patterns were long predicted by scientists and described in reports like those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and, in the United States, the National Climate Assessments produced by federal researchers."So much of what we're seeing is exactly consistent with what's expected from climate change," said Philip B. Duffy, a physicist and president of the Woods Hole Research Center, which studies the environment.At the root of the changes is the basic process of global warming. As carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases build up in the atmosphere, they trap more of the heat that radiates from Earth's surface as it absorbs sunlight.The WMO's state of the global climate report, released at the Madrid talks, said that this decade will almost certainly be the warmest decade on record. And the second half of the decade was much warmer than the first, with global temperatures averaged over the second half about 0.2 degree Celsius (about 0.4 degree Fahrenheit) higher."All the time we're breaking records in temperatures," Taalas said.The records extend to the oceans as well, which absorb about 90% of the excess heat retained by Earth as a result of increased greenhouse gases. Average ocean temperatures this year exceed those of 2018, which were records, the report said.Since the rise of industry in the second half of the 19th century, when widespread emissions of greenhouse gases began, the world has warmed by about 1.1 degrees Celsius.But how fast temperatures will continue to increase, and how much worse things may get, depends in large part on whether the world reins in greenhouse gas emissions, and by how much. After flattening between 2014 and 2016, annual emissions from burning fossil fuels for energy have risen again.The 2015 Paris agreement called for countries to pursue efforts to limit warming this century to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, with an even stricter target of 1.5 degrees Celsius. But the United States under President Donald Trump is leaving the agreement, and a U.N. report last month suggested that even if countries meet their pledges to cut emissions, and many are far off track, warming would be more than twice the 1.5-degree target.Acceleration of some elements of climate change has been expected, and has now been detected thanks to improvements in measurements. Sea level readings, for example, are now far more extensive, frequent and precise thanks to satellite sensors in use for the last quarter-century. In the past, scientists had to rely on tide gauges.Using satellite data, a 2018 study found that global sea level rise is now about 4.5 millimeters a year, or a little less than one-fifth of an inch. The rate is increasing by about a 10th of a millimeter a year."We knew the rate of sea level rise was increasing, but we had difficulty detecting that," said Steven Nerem, a University of Colorado researcher and lead author of the study.The study estimated that the acceleration would result in sea level rise by the end of this century of 65 centimeters, or about 25 inches, which is more than double the rise if the rate had remained constant.Sea level rise results from a combination of melting glaciers and ice sheets, and the thermal expansion of seawater as ocean temperatures rise. As with most of the projected effects of climate change, there is a high level of uncertainty about future sea levels."No one is terribly sure about what will happen by 2100," Nerem said. "If the ice sheets really start to go, things could change dramatically."Greenland and Antarctica hold enough ice to raise seas by about 220 feet if it all melted. Complete melting would take many centuries, but melting is speeding up on the Greenland sheet, which currently contributes about two-thirds of a millimeter to sea level rise annually, and on much of the West Antarctic sheet."This is a consequence of the warming temperatures of climate change," said Marco Tedesco, a climate scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University."Overall, we do not expect Greenland to slow down," he said. "And we definitely expect an acceleration in mass loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet." While the West Antarctic sheet currently contributes a small amount to sea level rise, eventually it could contribute as much as Greenland, he said.Amid the long term increase in ice-sheet melting there have been some exceptional periods, including this summer in Greenland, when heat from Europe spread north, resulting in temperatures as much as 15 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Overall this year, Greenland had a net ice loss of about 350 billion tons, about 20% more than the average in recent years and enough to add 1 millimeter to sea levels by itself.A recent analysis by Tedesco and a colleague showed that a rare combination of atmospheric conditions, related to instability of the polar jet stream that encircles Earth at high northern latitudes, led to this summer's melting. Some scientists have suggested that this jet stream instability, or wobbling, is a result of climate change, although the idea is not completely accepted.Warming in the Far North affects more than ice. Louise Farquharson, a geologist and researcher at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, studies the effect of climate change on permafrost. In the Arctic, ground can be permanently frozen from near the surface to several thousand feet deep."We see warming across the board, and generally the rate of warming is increasing," Farquharson said. "But the impact varies significantly."Her recent research found rapid thawing of permafrost high in the Canadian Arctic, where there is little surface vegetation to insulate the frozen ground. By 2016 the permafrost had already thawed at depths not expected until 2090 under a model of "moderate" global warming.While the permafrost at her study sites contains little organic matter, much of the Arctic's permafrost contains large amounts of dead vegetation built up over hundreds or thousands of years. This makes it a huge storehouse of carbon: By some estimates, Arctic permafrost contains about twice as much carbon as is currently in the atmosphere.When it thaws, the organic matter begins to decompose, and the carbon enters the atmosphere as methane or carbon dioxide, adding to warming.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


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Half a million Ebola vaccine doses to be stockpiled for emergency use

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 05:55

LONDON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - - A stockpile of 500,000 doses of Ebola vaccine for emergency use in outbreaks of the deadly fever is being established by the global vaccine alliance GAVI. The plan is for poor and middle-income countries to access the $178 stockpile free of charge, GAVI said on Thursday, while other countries will need to refund the costs. The stockpiling will start with Merck's newly developed Ervebo vaccine, which won regulatory approval last month.


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In New York lab, centuries-old corals hold clues to climate shifts

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 05:03

Some 20 miles north of New York City, a team of scientists is searching for clues about how the environment is changing by studying organisms not usually found in the woods around here: corals. In the labs of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a research unit of Columbia University overlooking the Hudson River, the scientists led by Professor Braddock Linsley pore over feet-long coral cores they extracted from far-away reefs. For Linsley and his colleagues, corals are a precious repository of clues https://tmsnrt.rs/360ebeX about the past that may help predict future climate trends.


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Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Small Business Research in Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

NIH Funding Opportunities - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 01:34
Notice NOT-EB-19-023 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
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Aerojet Rocketdyne signs on the bottom line to build hardware for moon missions

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 17:29

REDMOND, Wash. — Representatives of Aerojet Rocketdyne and Lockheed Martin put their signatures on a contract for up to $170 million worth of rocket hardware that'll be installed on Orion spacecraft heading to the moon — with dozens of employees who'll actually build that hardware watching the proceedings. "These are the things you're going to be talking to your grandchildren about," Cheryl Rehm, Aerojet Rocketdyne's senior director of Redmond programs, told company employees here at today's signing ceremony. The ceremony highlighted Redmond's role in NASA's Artemis moon landings. "For the more than 400 employees sitting here in Redmond, there's more… Read More


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A record-breaking NASA probe circling the sun has found never-before-seen spikes of solar wind and a flipping magnetic field

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 17:21

The Parker Solar Probe's study of the sun's corona and wind could lead to new protections for astronauts and Earth's electric grid.


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A record-breaking NASA probe circling the sun has found never-before-seen spikes of solar wind and a flipping magnetic field

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 17:21

The Parker Solar Probe's study of the sun's corona and wind could lead to new protections for astronauts and Earth's electric grid.


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THE DIGITAL THERAPEUTICS EXPLAINER: How digital treatments could be a $9 billion opportunity by 2025

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 15:01

Business Insider Intelligence explores the drivers lighting a fire under the DTx market and unpacks the ways vendors reach their intended audiences.


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Seed vaults are an 'insurance policy for the world's food.' 100 scientists just spent 6 years hunting for plant species around the globe to add to those vaults in case disaster strikes.

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 13:44

The Crop Trust is racing to collect and preserve wild plant seeds that are relatives of domesticated crops before the plants disappear.


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Extreme weather could wipe out crucial food crops. So 100 scientists spent 6 years hunting for the plants' hardier wild cousins.

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 13:44

The Crop Trust is racing to collect and preserve wild plant seeds that are relatives of domesticated crops before the plants disappear.


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Sun yields its secrets to Parker Solar Probe

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 11:01

NASA's Parker Solar Probe, having survived its closest encounter so far with the Sun, has sent back a "spectacular trove" of data on its corona, the super-hot outer edge of its atmosphere, scientists said Wednesday. The car-sized probe, launched in August last year, will come within some four million miles (six million kilometres) of the sun's surface during a series of fly-bys at other distances and trajectories over seven years. It is hoped it will allow a better understanding of the solar wind and electromagnetic storms which can cause chaos on Earth by knocking out the power grid.


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These are the top five trends shaping the future of digital health

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 09:00

Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together The Top Five Trends Shaping The Future of Digital Health.


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DarioHealth is selling its products on Walmart.com as it shifts away from direct-to-consumer sales

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 08:18

DarioHealth earned a spot on Walmart.com as part of the retail giant's move to dedicate more online and physical real estate to health services.


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THE US HOME HEALTHCARE REPORT: How US providers are using telehealth to tap into the booming home healthcare market

Yahoo Science News feed latest items - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 05:01

The US Home Healthcare Report from Business Insider Intelligence sizes the US home healthcare market and identifies the industry trends fueling the rise in home-based care.


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National Centers for Translational Research in Reproduction and Infertility (NCTRI) (P50 Clinical Trial Optional)

NIH Funding Opportunities - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 03:02
Funding Opportunity RFA-HD-21-012 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this FOA is to announce the re-competition of the National Centers for Translational Research in Reproduction and Infertility (NCTRI). The NCTRI will be administered through the Specialized Research Center (P50) award mechanism. These centers will form a national network that facilitates and accelerates bidirectional knowledge transfer between the laboratory and clinic with the ultimate goal of improving human reproductive health through research excellence and innovation.
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